What happens in Rome during Jubilee Year?

Jubilee Year is a special time for pilgrimage in Catholic tradition, a year where pilgrims embark on a journey searching for plenary indulgence. “The Jubilee Indulgence is a concrete manifestation of God’s mercy, which goes beyond and transforms the boundaries of human justice.”

2025 marks 25 years since the Rome Jubilee of 2000. For 2025, the theme will be ‘Pilgrims of Hope’ and will officially begin on Christmas Day 2024 with the opening of the Holy Door in Saint Peter’s Basilica, ending on the feast of the Epiphany in 2026.

With the 2025 Jubilee Year in Rome approaching, we would like to share some of the most important traditions and events that take place before and during this special time.

Rome in Jubilee Year - Joe Walsh Tours

2024 Year of Prayer

On Sunday 21st January 2024, Pope Francis announced that 2024 would be marked as a Year of Prayer, in preparation for the Jubilee of 2025. All the Dioceses are invited to promote  individual and community prayer during this year.

He wrote: “From now on I am happy to think that the year preceding the Jubilee event, 2024, will be dedicated to a great ‘symphony’ of prayer. First of all, to recover the desire to be in the presence of the Lord, to listen to Him and adore Him.”

Papal Bull

It is part of the tradition of the Holy Year to proclaim each Jubilee through the publication of a Papal Bull, an official document usually written in Latin.

The Bull publication of the Jubilee indicates the dates of the beginning and end of the Holy Year.

Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica opening

The opening of the Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica marks the beginning of the Holy Year as the Pope pushes the door initiating this ceremony.  This rite has been happening for centuries and many pilgrims have passed through the door, expressing the decision to follow and be guided by Jesus. The door is a path that pilgrims take to the interior of the church, a sacred place for Catholics and a gathering for the faithful.

The Holy Door will remain open throughout the Jubilee Year as pilgrims cross it and from there the Jubilee experience and indulgence starts.

The opening of the Holy Door is of great magnitude and importance as it is related to Saints Peter and Paul,  founders of the Christian community and great mentors of the Catholic Church, with their tombs located in Rome as they were martyred here. It also symbolizes the passage from chapter 10 of St John’s gospel: “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”

The Papal Basilicas in Rome will have their Holy Doors opened throughout the Jubilee year: St Peter’s in the Vatican, St John Lateran’s, Saint Mary Major’s and St Paul’s Outside the Walls.

The Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica will be opened by Pope Francis at the official start of the Jubilee Year, on 24th December 2024.

The Seven Churches Pilgrimage

The Seven Churches Pilgrimage is one of the oldest Roman traditions, dating back to St Philip Neri in the 16th century. It consists of  an approx 25 km walk through the city of Rome, countryside, and catacombs, stopping at seven of Rome’s most extraordinary Churches including: St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Basilica of St. John Lateran, Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, Basilica of St. Sebastian Outside the Walls.

Patronesses of Europe and Doctors of the Church

2025 will be a very special year and as part of the calendar of events pilgrims will discover more about European female saints, focusing on Patronesses of Europe and Doctors of the Church. Many Churches related to female saints have been chosen, including: The Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, as well as Santa Brigida a Campo de Fiori, or Santa Maria della Vittoria, with the last one being related to the figure of Saint Teresa of Avila.

There will also be processions and masses during Jubilee Year as well as time to visit the many shrines and temples of Rome. You can find more details about all the activities and full 2025 Jubilee Calendar on the official page: JUBILEE 2025

If you are a group leader looking to organise a pilgrimage to Italy to celebrate the Rome Jubilee Year 2025, talk to our travel team. 

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